Herbs That Warm Up Your Winter

The winter months often bring with them lethargy and weight gain. People feel more tired and as a result move more slowly, which allows the pounds to pack on. In Ayurveda, this sluggishness is caused by the body’s need to keep warm by stoking its digestive fires, or agni.

Heating Up the Body

It is the agni, or fire within, which helps burn the food people crave during the coldest months of the year. Heavier foods, higher in fat, proteins and complex carbohydrates, are favorites. Things like nuts, root vegetables, sugary foods and dairy contain nutrients the body needs to generate heat and the extra layer bodies need in cold climates.


Nourishing the agni promotes clear thinking, a healthy appetite and boosts the immune system. It also provides energy.

Neglecting the agni, starving it, results in low energy, congestion, poor immunity, circulation and digestive. It can even cause joints to ache and bring on depression.

What Works?

Spices and herbs that promote agni include basil, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel, ginger, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, pepper and thyme. They can be used in recipes for stews, porridge, chai tea and mulled cider and will help the body with its winter mandate of staying warm. 

Timing Is Everything

Although the agni allows people to eat heavier foods, over-eating still isn’t allowed. People should remember to eat sweets and dairy in moderation and instead of grazing all day, plan to eat three meals with the heaviest one in the midday when the body’s ability to burn calories is strongest. Lunchtime is the best time of day for all the baked goodies for which the holiday season is known. 

Share Your Ideas

What foods or drinks are winter staples for you? Let us know.

Photo credit: Toasted Herbs, Spices and Nuts by scaredy_kat


Jim Ven
Jim Ven11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

CLAUDE Hennie2 years ago

I use green tea and vegetable soups. That's great !

susan k.
susan k5 years ago


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Thanks for article!

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago

In my opinion, Milk Thistle is a God send!

Over two thousand years in use! Healing my little pet's liver condition!

Kevin R.
Past Member 6 years ago

Mmm, basil is certainly a mood lifter and is stimulating to me.

Inna Inna
Inna Inna6 years ago

Putting ginger in tea-feeling awesome!

francesco c.


Ashley D.
Ashley L6 years ago

I've been thinking of starting a herb garden on my apt balcony this spring. I keep buying herbs in the store to use with my food and in my teas but it will be nice to have fresh, homegrown herbs soon.

Alec S.
Alec Steury7 years ago

Thank you for sharing this Ayurvedic wisdom.